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Int Psychogeriatr. 2013 Apr;25(4):667-75. doi: 10.1017/S1041610212002050. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

ADHD symptoms across the lifespan in a population-based Swedish sample aged 65 to 80.

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Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.



The purpose of the study was to examine the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomatology across the lifespan by comparing older individuals' self-reports about current ADHD symptoms and symptoms in childhood.


The 25-item Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS) was initially administered in a population-based sample of 1,599 persons aged 65-80 years. We also asked about current health, memory, and problems in childhood. Based on their WURS scores (below and above 36), we randomly drew two subsamples, each with 30 individuals. They were followed up by the Wender Riktad ADHD Symtom Skala (WRASS)-scale, a Swedish version of the Targeted Attention Deficit Disorder Rating Scale (TADDS).


Our main finding was that higher WURS scores were significantly related to higher scores on the WRASS scale, indicating persistence of self-reported ADHD symptoms over the whole lifespan. Among those with a WURS score of 36 or more, 16 (53.3%) individuals scored 70 or more; the clinical cut-off used in Sweden. None of the individuals with a WURS score below 36 scored higher than 70 on the WRASS scale.


Our findings support the idea of a significant persistence of ADHD symptoms from childhood to old age. The results encourage studies of ADHD using a lifespan perspective, particularly in examining ADHD symptoms in old age.

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